Following joint investigations Friday, two local police agencies seized what could be $1,000 worth of methamphetamine and two methamphetamine labs.
Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge, Williamsburg Police Detective Wayne Bird, and members of their departments conducted the raids, which were held about six hours apart, and resulted in charges being filed against three people, and a warrant being issued for a fourth person.
Hodge said the raids aren’t connected aside from the fact that most meth users in Whitley County seem to know one another.
About 5 p.m. Friday, sheriff’s deputies and Williamsburg police conducted their second raid of the day on a meth lab at 5730 US25W North near Williamsburg, according to a sheriff’s department press release. Following a three week undercover investigation, officers from both departments went to the home of Jason D. Brown, 31, and informed him each agency had knowledge of a working methamphetamine lab on his property, the press release noted.
“Officers were given permission to search the premises whereupon a large methamphetamine lab with all the chemicals and components necessary to manufacture meth was found. He had the liquids going when we got there,” Hodge said. “At that time, Brian Reams with the Laurel County hazardous material team was called to the scene to dispose of the meth lab. Officers were at the residence for approximately three hours cleaning up the lab.”
Hodge said police didn’t find any meth at the residence, but did take samples of an unknown substance that Brown told them was a batch that went bad.
Police charged Brown with first-degree manufacturing methamphetamine.
Officers taking part in the investigation included: Hodge, Bird, Deputy Ken Mobley, Deputy Scott Lake, and Williamsburg Police Officer Jason Caddell.
Earlier in the day, Hodge, Bird and Caddell answered a complaint at an apartment complex on Croley Bend Road about 11:30 a.m.
Officers have been investigating reports for at least one month that a certain individual was buying products used to make methamphetamine. Police were able to trace a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am, which is believed to have been used to make the purchases, to an apartment Friday belonging to Angela Siler, Hodge said.
About 11:30 a.m., when police arrived at 2350 Croley Bend Road Apartment #1, Siler gave them permission to search the residence where they found a meth lab, and numerous chemicals and components used to make methamphetamine, Hodge said.
Hodge said that further investigation revealed that chemicals, which are used to make meth, were being stored in Apartment #3. Officers also received consent to search that apartment, and found numerous chemicals and eight to 10 grams of finished methamphetamine.
“It’s an apartment complex in an old radio station. There’s actually three apartments, one upstairs and two downstairs. The apartment upstairs is where the lab was at. The apartment downstairs was where the finished product, and some of the ingredients were being stored,” Bird explained.
Hodge added that he wouldn’t want to be the person living in the other apartment in the complex.
Depending on its purity, meth sells for $100 to $150 per gram, Bird said.
“If a person really knew what they were doing, they could probably make about an ounce of meth with $20 to $30 worth of material,” Bird said.
Williamsburg police charged Thomas Bennett, 24, and his wife, Dorothy Bennett, 22, both of 2350 Croley Bend Road Apartment #3, with possession of methamphetamine, and lodged them both in the Whitley County Jail.
Social services was contacted, and removed two young children from their apartment, police said.
Hodge has obtained a warrant charging another woman, Victoria Hook, 34, of 2350 Croley Bend Road, for manufacturing methamphetamine in connection with the lab found in Apartment #1. No charges have been filed at this time against Angela Siler.
The investigations are continuing, and further labs could be raided as a result of Friday’s investigations, Hodge added.
Thomas Bennett, Dorothy Bennett, and Brown entered not guilty pleas during their arraignments Monday before District Court Judge Dan Ballou, who scheduled Feb. 28 preliminary hearings in both cases.
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